Why it counts
Foster Care Counts because even a small amount of time, effort, and contribution can help to change the life of a youth in foster care. If we all work together to help our nation's children, we can support the public systems that are helping to raise these youth - together we can give them the tools and hope for the future that they deserve.
Who Are Our Foster Youth?
Foster youth are our nation's daughters and sons. They are our future professors, policymakers and parents. They are children who face challenges and circumstances beyond their control and who deserve a chance to graduate from college, create careers, and someday build families of their own. Foster youth are our youth and we can help make a difference in their lives.
“Too often, however, these
goals are not achieved, and
these children are left without
any stable family.”
How Did They Get Here?
A child enters foster care when their parents are unable, for any number of reasons, to give them the care they need. The purpose of foster care is to provide temporary living arrangements for children who cannot remain safely at home. The primary goal is to reunite children with their parents whenever possible, but if that isn't possible, the secondary goal is to secure another permanent home, ideally through adoption. Too often, however, these goals are not achieved, and these children are left without any stable family.
What are some of the effects of spending time in the foster care system?
Foster children often spend years in foster or group homes, moving multiple times from placement to placement. This instability alone has negative residual effects on foster youth - not to mention the trauma caused by a child's removal and separation from their biological parents. The resulting impact ranges from stifled academic achievement to enduring emotional, behavioral and mental health problems. We all know it takes a strong stable home and a community of support to nurture children into their teens, which is support many foster youth simply don't receive.
Loss of Hope
Why Focus on “Transition Age” Youth?
Nationally, the percentage of youth who lack permanent placement, and therefore “age out” of foster care, has increased over the last decade, from 7% in 1998 to 11% in 2010.
7% in 1998 to 11% in 2010
Government services supporting foster youth and the families and institutions that care for them, typically end abruptly at age 18 (or 21 in some states, including California), creating acute challenges for young adults who have never found a permanent home.. Nationally, the percentage of youth who lack permanent placement, and therefore “age out” of foster care, has increased over the last decade, from 7% in 1998 to 11% in 2010.
These “transition age" youth (16-24), like most teenagers, will only have a chance to succeed if they get the education and training they need. Most 18-year-olds without a stable family would have a tough time paying for college while supporting themselves - yet this is the situation transition age foster youth face. Because these youth haven't had essential emotional support while growing up, aren't as prepared academically, and are faced with making big decisions on their own, the cards are stacked against them.
We Can Change That. You Can Change That.
A Look At The Facts
- There are over 400,000 foster youth nationally; 60,000 are in California and 35,000 live in Los Angeles.
- 45% of foster youth graduate high school and fewer than 10% of foster youth enroll in college, (despite 70% hoping to attend).
- Of the 10% that attend, only 3% are likely to graduate.
It’s not a surprise a high percentage of former foster youth experience..
- health issues
- early parents
- substance abuse
homelessness (40%), unemployment (50%), or incarceration (20%) upon aging out, and are more prone to experience early parenthood, substance abuse, physical illness, and mental health problems.
The problems these youth face may stem from their own experience with abuse and neglect or the difficulty of catching up academically and healing emotionally; all of which are necessary to obtain the skills and resources needed to successfully achieve stability and independence.
If you want to know more about foster care locally and nationally: